RACE PLANS IMPROVE SPRINTERS' PERFORMANCE AND CONSISTENCY
Mallett, C. J., & Hanrahan, S. J. (1997). Race modeling: An effective cognitive strategy for the 100 m sprinter. Sport Psychologist, 11, 72-85.
The effects of a strategic cognitive race plan (a narrow, internal focus of attention on task-relevant information) associated with sprinting on 100 m sprint performance were investigated.
Elite national-level sprinters (M = 11; F = 1; mean age 21.6 yrs), performed eight 100 m time trials under normal and then experimental conditions using cognitive race cues. In the experimental condition (multiple-baseline design), Ss were asked to think about specific thought content in each of 3 segments of their 100 m performance.
Performances improved (average 0.26 sec) and were more consistent in 11 Ss when using the specific cognitive race plan ( p < .005). Ss' subjective evaluations unanimously supported the use of a race plan for optimizing sprint performance.
Implication. A race plan for sprinting serves as a means for improving performance levels and consistency. While influences of environmental conditions, effort, and practice effects are possible reasons for these results, they occurred independently across 11 of 12 Ss. This content should be part of any sprinter's training.
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